Thailand’s second-largest cellco by subscribers DTAC, part of the Telenor Group, has reported its results for Q1 2015, displaying pre- and post-paid net user additions of 263,000 and 155,000 respectively in the three-month period, and claiming a total of 28.4 million subscribers at end-March, an increase of 0.7% year-on-year and 1.5% quarter-on-quarter. It also increased the volume of subscribers on its 2100MHz 3G/4G network to 23.5 million, representing 83% of the total base, compared to 72% in Q414, whilst customers classed as data/internet subscribers reached 14.8 million, equivalent to 52% of the total. Also at the end of 1Q15, DTAC reported ‘close to one million 4G users’ as well as a 4G LTE device penetration of 7.5%, and the company expects to reach 2.5 million LTE subscribers by the year-end, when it predicts that 60% of its customers will be mobile internet users.
In the first quarter of 2015 DTAC’s total revenue reached THB22.884 billion (USD699 million), an increase of 1.9% year-on-year, driven by strong handset sales and mobile data revenue growth, offset by voice revenue decline. However, q-o-q revenue decreased 9.5%, mainly because of strong iPhone 6 sales in 4Q14. Service revenue excluding interconnection decreased 3.6% y-o-y and 0.7% q-o-q to THB16.768 billion because data revenue growth could not offset the declining voice turnover (down 18% y-o-y and 5.6% q-o-q to THB7.754 billion). Handset and starter kit sales increased 35% y-o-y due to iPhone 6 sales, bundled smartphone offerings and provincial subsidy campaigns, but also fell q-o-q. Data revenue was THB7.456 billion in 1Q15, up by 13% y-o-y and 1.8% q-o-q, while DTAC noted that despite strong growth of data usage, monetisation is still impacted by unlimited data packages to attract consumers using smartphones and mobile internet, in particular in the pre-paid segment; the operator adds that it launched an initiative to improve data monetisation by launching limited data price plans and stopping selling unlimited packages in the post-paid segment. EBITDA rose 4.8% q-o-q, although decreased 11% y-o-y to THB7.358 billion mainly because of negative handset margin and lower service revenues.
DTAC also highlighted its region-based operating model, implemented in 4Q14. There were several specific regional campaigns launched in Q1 2015, such as ‘Happy Kwangsong SIM’ for pre-paid customers in Chiang Rai province and ‘Jai-Dee-Hi-Own-Pai-Myanmar from Happy’, a service via which DTAC’s Happy (pre-paid) customers in Thailand can top up a Telenor Myanmar SIM.